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Day 23/05/2014

{ 8 Tips for Making …* } When You Make New Things, You’re Joining In the Most Ancient Dialogue That Humans Have Ever Had

{ 8 Tips for Making ...* } When You Make New Things, You're Joining In the Most Ancient Dialogue That Humans Have Ever Had | rethinked.org

Right in time for all your weekend projects, here are eight of Mythbusters’ Adam Savage‘s ten commandments of making, which he shared at this year’s Maker Faire. I’ve transcribed my favorite eight below (the last two being rather technical — measure carefully so that you know when to use high tolerance versus loose tolerance and use more cooling fluid.) These are some great tips that apply across most creative endeavors, whether you are making a tangible object or ‘thinkering’ out an idea. You can view the full speech here, Savage shares his ten tips on making in the first ten minutes and spends the remaining forty minutes answering questions from the audience.

What will you be making? Send us some pictures!

make & rethink …

MAKE SOMETHING – ANYTHING }

“The first rule of making, I will say, is make something–anything: cook, weld, carve, sculpt. Anything that you need to make, it’s important that you make it. Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals: we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once–you’re telling a story about your desire, you’re telling a story about something that you want, you’re telling a story about something you see needs to be made and you are using your tools to improve yourself and improve the world around you. When you make new things, you’re joining in the most ancient dialogue that humans have ever had.”

MAKE SOMETHING, OCCASIONALLY, THAT ACTUALLY IMPROVES YOUR LIFE }

“From a toilet paper holder that actually works to a toaster that’s slightly improved. When you make something that you use every day as opposed to something that’s useless, I can’t even tell you how good it feels. Even like a handle on a drawer, you make a handle on a drawer and you’re using it every single day, the patina of your use that it gets feels really good. And it’s another story.”

START NOW }

“Start now. Start right now to do the thing you want to do, there is no time like right now and do it with the things in front of you. If you want to weld a car frame but you don’t have a welder or a car or a frame, go ahead and mock it up out of cardboard.”

{ LEARN SKILLS THROUGH PROJECTS }

“I can’t learn any skills unless I have a project to learn with. I need a goal. […] I can’t learn to weld just by someone showing me that it should sound like frying eggs and you set the dials like this. I need to end up with Wolverine claws or a sword or a pair of stilts or something like that. Always try to find a project that will get you interested in the thing that you want to build.”

{ ASK- ASK QUESTIONS, ASK FOR HELP, ASK FOR ADVICE, ASK FOR FEEDBACK }

“Ask for advice and when you find someone you trust, ask for feedback. I’ll tell you, it’s very funny, among adults we rarely actually turn to each other and say, ‘what do you think of the work that I’m doing?’ And it’s because that places us in a very vulnerable spot. But again, if you can find a teacher or a mentor or someone whose opinion you really respect, asking them very specifically about how they think you’re doing can give you incredible insight. I’ve done it a few times in my life and every single time, I’ve gotten a tremendous perspective on what I was actually doing.”

{ SHARE

“That is really important. There is nothing that makes me angrier than when somebody does something beautiful and you ask how it’s done and they say it’s a secret. No secrets! What are you protecting? Nobody’s going to take your technique. Nobody has a monopoly on being you and if you think that your technique is what makes you interesting, you’re being ridiculous. So share your techniques because when you do, someone is going to come back to you with a better way of doing it and you’re going to learn something from them.”

{ RECOGNIZE THAT FAILURE & DISCOURAGEMENT ARE PART OF THE PROCESS }

“Please recognize that discouragement and failure are part of every single make project. Not something that happens every now and then–in every single project you will find yourself discouraged and you will fail at some point. If you recognize that, if you recognize that you’re going to fail, at least when it’s about to happen–when you are getting discouraged because you hit a snag and you don’t have the part and it’s Sunday night and it’s four a.m.–at least then you know that that’s part of what’s going to happen. And that the next morning it may be a little harder to get started but if you know that mechanism, you can actually keep going. I personally, and I’ve said this many times before, whenever I’m making something, about 70 percent of the way in, I actually think I have no idea what I’m doing and I hate what I’m building. And Fellini even said that he knows that one of his films is almost finished when he totally despises it. And frankly, that 70, 80, 90 percent mark–the closer you get to the end, the more scared I get because it turns out that I hate finishing things. I’d much rather keep working on them and keep getting that endorphin rush of the Ebay research and finding that part that I didn’t know existed. Actually getting all the way to the end is a little bit difficult but if you recognize what your mechanism is, where the places you’ll get frustrated, they are your friends. You can welcome them in. This is also part of mindfulness and meditation–understand that those thoughts are going to happen and embrace them. Look, they still are going to suck, I’m not gonna lie to you, it sucks to fail, it hurts to cut yourself, but it’s going to happen in every single project.”

{ MAKE THINGS FOR OTHER PEOPLE

“I can’t even describe to you, how much pleasure I get when I make something and then I give it to somebody else and they get a story, they get the thing that I’ve made. They get the fruit of a couple of hours of my time and concentration and they get to possess it. It does make you vulnerable when you give your stuff away, you should recognize that. Giving your stuff away does actually place you in a slightly vulnerable position but it is also a really magical one. So occasionally, when you’re making something, give it away. Give it to other people.”

*

[Hat Tip: Adam Savage’s 10 Commandments of DIYing via Lifehacker, published May 20, 2014]

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